There are times in one's life when a committed relationship just doesn't make sense. When you're busy trying to figure yourself out do you really need to be taking partial responsibility for someone else's feelings at the same time? And what do you do when that the love of your life just doesn't seem to be knocking on your door right now? Is going out of your way to pursue a soulmate and trying to force the issue really the best choice for companionship? Sometimes practicality calls for a mutually beneficial intimate relationship that just doesn't require for all the romantic feelings and dedication associated with traditional relationships. Such is the nature of friends with benefits.
When it comes to establishing and maintaining friends with benefits relationship, you should keep certain things in mind. Always stay in tune with your emotions and also be aware of your partner's. The moment feelings enter into the bond, the relationship ceases to be wholly casual. This is one of the primary dangers associated with attempting to become friends with benefits, as such relationships have a tendency to leave one partner or the other with a shattered heart. This pain can be avoided for the most part though so long as both parties just remain honest. If you find yourself developing feelings then speak up immediately. It's better to take the possible rejection early than to get yourself in deep feeling and then face rejection. After all; even if you're rejected it's only “half-rejection” as you got to have a sexual relationship anyway (and brag to your friends about it if you'd like).
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Feel free to be active in the dating world while you have a friend with benefits. This will help to keep your partner from getting the notion that you want any sort of monogamous relationship (sometimes your honesty might fall on deaf ears and at other times your partner might be less than honest with you; actions always speak louder than words and dating other people just makes it apparent that you're only interested in the friendship) and it allows you to enjoy the second best benefit (number one obviously being no strings attached sex) of being friends with benefits: freedom to have multiple partners.
Choose your partner wisely. If you've witnessed a friend going into hysterical sobbing fits or inexplicable party binges after losing relationships in the past, then he or she may not be ideally suited for the role you're looking for. You want someone who you enjoy spending downtime with and who's compatible with you, but most importantly you want someone who wants the same thing as you do. A girl who's had an obvious crush on you for years or a guy who asked you out a long time ago but you turned him down might not be your best choice. Be reasonable and selective; the choice of partner is vital to the smoothness and fluidity of this kind of relationship.
Often it's a good idea to try forming a friend with benefits relationship with a close acquaintance rather than a friend you've known and hung out with for years. There are two primary reasons for this. Firstly, no matter how many precautions you take, there will always be the risk of one partner getting attached, the other rejecting them, and the friendship coming to an end. If this happens with a close friend then it can be mutually painful as both parties lose someone they cared about. If it happens with more of an acquaintance then who cares? Secondly, if a girlfriend or boyfriend later down the road discovers that you used to sleep with one of your friends who you still hang out with, then tension and jealousy are pretty much inevitable. But you shouldn't have too much trouble just cutting an acquaintance out of your life so this wouldn't be an issue. Aim for your outer circle of friends (or even people you know who you might not even consider as your friends) rather than your inner circle.
Sometimes the wrong kinds of dialogue and interactions can sort of accidentally mold a relationship into something that you don't want it to be. Refrain from using terms like “us” and “we” when talking to your friend with benefits. These might seem like harmless words that mean very little but some people (women particularly, but men with a romantic/clingy side as well) will absorb these kinds of terms (sometimes even subconsciously) and ultimately draw the wrong conclusions. Don't ever talk about the future (outside of plans for tonight and very short term things like that) to your friend with benefits. At the end of the day, what you're doing for the weekend or why you can't hang out on Wednesday is just not your partner's business. Don't talk about your family, your aspirations, your flaws or anything else that's particularly personal; this kind of intimate communication has the unwanted potential to make your partner fall for you. Breakfast together should be avoided at all cost; this is the meal of the married couple and belongs nowhere near a friends with benefits relationship. Within reason, dinner should probably be avoided as well. Stick to the occasional desserts and snacks and just don't make eating together a big part of your relationship (unless it's food that can be licked off of each other of course).
The dive into being friends with benefits can be a mutually advantageous venture with very few drawbacks. You can effectively prevent the loneliness that often comes with being single but without dealing with the limitations of having a boyfriend or girlfriend. So long as you just remain honest with your partner and bow out when the time is right you're all but guaranteed to have a good time.